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How to report on events using the Healthy DEvelopments portal

This note aims to provide guidance and quick answers to colleagues who want to find out how the Healthy DEvelopments web portal can report on conferences, meetings or workshops. If you have any other questions or if you are interested in realizing any of the options described below, please get in touch with the Healthy DEvelopments team.


Which events can be documented on the Healthy DEvelopments web portal?

Healthy DEvelopments can report on any conference, workshop or meeting that experts working in German Cooperation in health or social protection support or organize, or to which they contribute. 

The advantage of using Healthy DEvelopments for conference reporting is the fact that, in contrast to ‘pure’ conference websites (which eventually turn into ‘data graveyards’), Healthy DEvelopments will continue to be well-maintained and regularly updated after your conference has ended. In addition, visitors of the conference website get access to a lot of other interesting information about German Cooperation in health and social protection.

What are the different options for the online documentation of an event?

Short articles of conferences with their own conference website

If a conference has its own website and you simply want to make colleagues and the interested public aware of it, you can post a short article about the conference, describing its background, aims, format and participants. We can post a screenshot of that website, or the conference logo, on the right margin of the article and link it to the conference website. You can post such an article in the run-up to the event and/or after it to describe the conference results. A short teaser text (2-3 sentences) for this article can be posted in the ‘What’s on’-column on the landing page of the Healthy DEvelopments portal.

Whatever you intend to write for Healthy DEvelopments, make sure to read ‘How to write for the internet’ under How to contribute first. 

Conference with internet presence entirely hosted on Healthy DEvelopments

If the event is co-organized, organized or hosted by BMZ, KfW or GIZ, a full conference website can be set up for it in the portal’s events section. This can include, for example,

  • a landing page, with a welcome message, describing background and aims of the conference and how to contact the organizers
  • a page showing the conference programme online plus a pdf version of the programme for downloading
  • a page listing conference speakers with photos and short professional profiles
  • a  page describing the different sessions of the conference
  • and – whilst the conference is ongoing – a page with several updates per day on the conference proceedings.

Social media coverage

If you want to spread news about the conference via social media, such as twitter or Facebook, the Healthy DEvelopments portal can support you via its social media channels (fb.com/HealthyDEvs and twitter.com/HealthyDEvs). For more information on this option, see below under ‘How to use twitter and Facebook for your conference’.

How long before a conference should one set up a website?

Ideally a conference website should already have been set up by the time you send out the first communication about the event to potential participants. This will allow you to include a link to the website right from the start. As the programme becomes more detailed, more speakers and panellists confirm and more sessions are planned, you can update the information on the website and avoid distributing ever new versions as email attachments.

How to keep the conference website up to date

When we discuss your conference website with you, we will agree with you how often and on which days you should send updated versions of the programme to the Healthy DEvelopments webmaster, Dieter Neuvians (webmaster@healthy-developments.de). He will also advise you which format the programme and other documents (photos, contributors’ bios, abstracts) should have if you want to have them posted on the website. 

Please note: Materials and updates can only be posted by the Healthy DEvelopments webmaster. His availability on the conference days and the timing of the updates during the event (see below) must be discussed with him well before the event to ensure that these can be arranged.

How broadly can the Healthy DEvelopments team support conference websites?

Please note that the Healthy DEvelopments team members are working on a limited time budget. Setting up and updating conference websites can only be accommodated if the materials, i.e. texts, materials for downloading and photos, are provided in the agreed formats and at the agreed times.

Who will write the texts for the website?

Background texts

Usually, the text about the conference background, its objectives, sessions, target audience etc. can be extracted and adapted from the conference’s concept note. The Healthy DEvelopments editor will do this for you, just send the background documentation to her: editor@healthy-developments.de

Conference updates during the event

If you want to post regular updates on conference proceedings during the conference, it is important that the person you contract for writing them writes impeccable English and has professional experience as writer/journalist. Here, too, please involve the Healthy DEvelopments team early on. They can help you select a suitable candidate (they have a pool of experienced journalists) and they can brief him or her about the format, style and length of texts that can be posted online.

Conference report and interviews

You may want to also commission the same writer/journalist to write your conference report. He or she can also conduct interviews with high level speakers/panellists. These interviews can be posted as podcasts or videos, and their transcripts, or quotes from them, can be included in the conference report.

Editorial responsibility, quality and style standards

Please note that Healthy DEvelopments, which is part of the official BMZ website, cannot post texts that do not comply with the BMZ website’s quality and style standards. The BMZ division for social media and citizen communication has the overall responsibility for the BMZ website and has made the Healthy DEvelopments team responsible for ensuring that all contributions to the portal meet these standards. 

Posting photographs

Direct reporting from the conference will be much more interesting and attractive to readers if it is accompanied by good photos. On the first day of the conference, send us a meaningful picture of a panel discussion or similar in landscape format and we can post it in the photo slider on our landing page (We have to be able to crop the picture in a wide, but not high format (980 x 380 pixels), so all relevant picture information should be aligned along the horizontal dimension (see examples on our homepage). If you decide to have daily conference updates posted, send us photos, too, which illustrate the sessions that are described in the text. In addition, we can post more conference photos as an album on the Healthy DEvelopments facebook page.

How to use twitter and Facebook for your conference

Conference hashtag on Twitter

The Healthy DEvelopments team can help you select and register a suitable conference hashtag which you can communicate to the conference participants in your first communication to potential participants.

In the run-up to the conference a hashtag can be used as a means to keep your audience posted on updates in the programme or speakers list. The Healthy DEvelopments team can schedule regular Twitter messages (‘tweets‘) with conference title, date, place and topics, confirmed speakers and panellists etc. In order to reach, or be found by, a wide range of experts with an interest in the conference topics, the tweets will include various hashtags which are commonly used by experts engaged in debating the given conference topics.

During the conference, participants and contributors who are already on twitter will then use your hashtag to spread news about the conference to their followers, increasing your overall audience.

The Healthy DEvelopments will take care of registering your hashtag on special online databases and mailing lists, including those which specifically focus on health and social protection.

Twitter window on the conference landing page

A window with all tweets (from any twitter user around the world) that contain the conference hashtag can be embedded on the conference landing page on Healthy DEvelopments, so that anyone visiting the conference website will immediately be aware of the international echo the conference is having.

During the conference, the conference hashtag can be communicated (on a screen and/or by the facilitator) to conference participants so that those who use twitter already (and those interested in trying it out) can also join the online discussion, comment on conference proceedings, post interesting things being said by speakers and panellists etc. In this way, twitter is providing a running commentary of the conference, which can be followed, and contributed to, by interested experts around the world.

Twitter wall

This running commentary can be shown to participants in the plenary on a so-called twitter wall, i.e. a screen on which all tweets appear as soon as they are posted. If the conference facilitator feels comfortable with this, he or she can point out particularly interesting tweets or take up questions that were tweeted and put them to the respective speaker or panellists.

Overall, twitter is a very fast social medium and it can enhance the interactivity of large plenary sessions where otherwise very few people speak and most just have to listen.

Use of Facebook

The twitter and Facebook accounts of Healthy DEvelopments are connected. Tweets will appear automatically on the Healthy DEvelopments Facebook page, too. Participants who don‘t use Twitter, but have a Facebook account, may be encouraged to like our Facebook page instead to get notifications about the conference.

When you post a daily (or bi-daily) update from the conference on the Healthy DEvelopments website, we can post snippets of it together with a link on Facebook, too. This will automatically generate a tweet on Twitter as well, so that you have users of both services covered. 

Which support can the Healthy DEvelopments team provide for the social media coverage?

Depending on the availability of the Healthy DEvelopments team at the conference dates, we can tweet comments and photos that you send us at agreed times and we can post them on Facebook.

However, if you want full-time on site coverage of the event, we recommend that you contract a journalist and/or social media expert for this purpose.

The Healthy DEvelopments team can suggest a suitable person from their pool of journalists to ensure best quality and to make use of already existing good working relationships. Because of their editorial responsibility for the website and the social media channels, close involvement of the Healthy DEvelopments team in the formulation of the consultant’s terms of reference and in his or her briefings well before the actual conference are indispensable in this case.

In any case, because of the responsibility for contents posted on the Healthy DEvelopments portal and the related social media channels, journalists must have following qualifications/social media expertise:

  • Knowledge of and adherence to general ‘netiquette‘ at all times
  • Run and monitor a (semi-) professional Twitter account (and preferably a professional Facebook page/ group, too)
  • In-depth knowledge about use of Twitter and Facebook, and how to reach the target group and a broad interested public.
  • Expertise in running Social Media campaigns
  • Ability to research topics of the conference in social media and identifying relevant actors and suitable ways of communicating with them, including appropriate use of relevant hashtags, mentions, private messages etc.

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More information

Contact

For any queries or questions, please contact us on portal@healthy-developments.de.

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